How to submit a radio play
So you want to know how to submit a Radio Play?
You have a great idea, that you think will sound epic on your DAB Digital Radio but your unsure about where to start.
Don't worry, the creative arts in general are a mystifying array of hoops and hurdles that you have to jump through, or so it seems. These hoops and hurdles put normal people off because they see that it's not easy and there are no easy tips or cheats to get a radio play commissioned (unless you know the director, in which case well done, start writing now!) But for the rest of us here are some important points that should give you enough infomation to at least get it under the producers noses.
Think outside the box
Directors and producers are always receiving scripts. Normally in brown envelopes and printed on cheap paper. Yeah I know your not rich, but how much nicer is some thick parchment, when you hold it in your hands you know that the person who's sent you this has gone to a lot of effort. People like that. And hey whats a few quid compared to a Radio series on the radio? Personally I buy mine from WHSmiths but you can get them for half the price on Amazon.
So, here we have something we can do diffrently. Prouducers are human too, they like pretty things. How about sending your script in a coloured box tied up with ribbon addressed directly to the director/producer you want to read it. If that landed on my desk I would be intrigued, and I tell you what, I'd be opening that before I did any more brown envelopes! Even if the script is rubbish, you have succeeded one thing, its in their hands.
I know this second point sounds like sucking eggs but honestly check that your script meets the guidelines for radio script submissions. If they want it in 12pp (the size of the text) and you've printed it in 10pp then it, 99% of the time will go straight in their bin. Why? Think about it, if you cant fulfil their basic guidelines for submissions, then they assume you wont listen to them either, they don't want to work with people like that. It also helps them weed through the scripts and makes their job easier - less to read.
"Writing is re-writing"
This goes for all writing, make sure your script is not just a first draft that you wrote in a few hours. Writing is hard, and it takes time. Proffesional writers spend day after day writing and rewriting, what makes you any different? You may have written a masterpeice 29 page script in 2 hours and you dont want to mess with it. Fair enough, send it away, see what happens... but dont be suprised if you get nothing back. Sometimes you have to swallow that pill, sit down and pick apart your masterpiece.
BUT I DONT KNOW WHAT TO WRITE?
You'd love to write for the Radio, but you dont know what to write?
Whats your favorite shows on the Radio? Is it Comedy? Or Drama?
Write about what you like about them... not just 'they are funny'. Write why they are funny, what makes you laugh about them.
Write about what you know...
Very important. When considering an idea and you think it would be great to have a radio sitcom set in Prison. Well, have you been to prison? Were you a prison warden maybe? Then fine go ahead, you know the protocols of modern prison life. You CANT just watch a few episodes of Porridge and use that as a guide,(but thats a whole other story).
When you know what you want to write, sit down with an empty notepad and brainstorm. Make sure you have every aspect covered, and never disregard any idea. Think simply, its for the radio so you can set it ANYWHERE, but keeping the Write what you know in mind.
Now remember, your on the radio so sentances like "He looked up and saw the spaceship landing" WILL NOT WORK, that a VISUAL statement. A replacement would be;
NOISE OF A SPACESHIP LANDING
You see, we have said exacly the same thing, remembering that this is going to be on the Radio, not the TV. You have to be able to see the play in your head, BUT THEN, translate that into Radio. What will you hear?
Sounds simple, but you'd be amazed how easy that is to forgot!
SO YOUVE WRITTEN YOUR SCRIPT, WHERE AND HOW TO SUBMIT
The BBC is the best place to send your script:
Make sure you meet their guidelines. The BBC is the best place to go for advice as they employ more people for their radio shows than anywhere else.
Alternatively, there are hundreds of independent production houses that make Radio shows and local volunteer radio stations that will accept submissions.
The way that I find these places, because there is not magic list, is I do what's called an 'Internet-Tip'. I will search Google with 'Independent Radio Production Companies' etc. Then find peoples names, google them, send them an email asking if you can send them your script. If their nice they will reply.
As I said, their is no cut and dry method you have to be persistent and determined. Keep going and my last piece of advice: DO IT.
Its easy to sit there and think of what amazing idea's you have and how wiked it would be to have something on the radio but what are you doing about it. It's up to you to take the steps. If you want it, go and get it soldier.